Where Have All the Hunters Gone? (2 of 2)

 

The Birds Come -- Where Are the Hunters?

 

To recap the first part, there’s been a 10% drop in hunting/fishing in America in the past 10 years.

In some states the drop has been shocking: Illinois had a 27% decrease in hunting and 35% fewer anglers in the same 10 years. There are fewer young people taking up hunting and fishing: During that same 10 years, only 3% of the folks out hunting were under 17 years of age!

Those of you that read my postings regularly know I’m no rabid fanatic, however, this issue is worrisome.

All states rely on the permits, fees, licenses and tags to pay for wildlife and hunting land management. They also rely on donations from individuals and groups, such as Ducks Unlimited, as well as many others.

These groups form partnerships with state game and fishing management departments to provide tools, goods and/or lands that these departments cannot afford on their own.

However, they cannot supply the $7 or 8 billion annual loss from hunters and anglers.

Where Have All the Hunting Lands Gone?

How has this problem arisen under our very eyes? In a word, the answer is ‘urbanization.’ Land is being snapped up by developers for houses and commercial property. That land, often, is the habitat of wildlife.

In some states, hunters have to travel so far to find suitable hunting ground that many have given up on the sport. Many have to cross state lines and thus pay additional fees. When there’s no more open land for hunters, there’s no place for them to go. They cannot create new lands.

When MDH was younger, all he needed to do was contact a farmer and ask to hunt his land. This easy system has given way to leasing of lands (by hunters). Thus, lands are closed to anyone without the funds to participate.

For the farmers, the income is needed because of all the changes in farming (eg: he’s not making as much as in years past, his costs have increased {seeds, labor, taxes on his lands have increased, etc.}).

Large Tracts of Land Are Broken Up and Sold

As those old farmers die, their farms are often broken up, leading to, usually, sale of some of those lands and loss of hunting privileges by many hunters.

And guess who is waiting to buy with dollars in his pockets? The developer. It isn’t another farmer, because farming has become such a difficult way to make a living. So the developer creates another housing development — and more hunting lands are lost.

Changes in American society have also contributed to the change in hunting traditions. The rise of single-parent homes has had staggering effects on family traditions.

Helping a son to get his first shotgun and the bonding experience of fathers and sons going hunting are long-held traditions that have fallen by the wayside.

Youngsters are more likely to play video games about hunting, rather than experience the real thing when you have two parents living in two places.

The one bright light in all of this is the fact that women and girls are now trying hunting.  Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, and many of the other hunting/angling organizations are actively recruiting youngsters (both genders) and women.

What Can You Do?

I’m so-o glad you asked. Take a kid hunting! Better yet, take your kid (either gender) and a friend hunting. Hunting and angling are “home-grown” sports; the chances are low for an adult to take up hunting if he/she has no experience as a youngster or pre-teen.

~~~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

 

Advertisements

Where Have All the Hunters Gone?

 

 

Recently There Has Been a 10% Drop in the Number of Hunters!

Hunting and fishing enthusiasts have long supported conservation in America.

Even though hunting for food is no longer necessary, it has a long history in our country.

Over the decades, the US and state governments have created a delicate balance between habitats, game management and hunters/anglers.

Through the cost of permits and fees, the people who enjoy fishing and hunting have paid for the improvements to land and animal management brought about by state and national fish and wildlife programs.

However, the US Fish and Wildlife Service recently released a shocking report.

The Report that May Rock Your Socks

Across America, there was a 10% drop in the number of hunters aged 16 and over, between years 1996 and 2006. In some states, however the drop was more serious. Illinois, between 1996 and 2006, experienced a 27% decline in hunters (aged 16 and above), and an unbelievable 35% drop in the numbers of fishing folk!

Besides money, anglers and hunters are the main way states stem wildlife over-population. By having hunters and anglers doing managed harvesting, the general animal population has enough to eat and the species stays strong.

The Monetary Impact of Fishing Folk and Hunters

Every year, these hunting and fishing enthusiasts spend $76 billion (according to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, in their report – “Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~
A force as big as all outdoors
.”

The figures speak for themselves. “They (hunters and fishing enthusiasts) directly support 1.6 million jobs. They spend more than a billion dollars just on stamps, licenses, tags and permits. And they generate $25 billion in federal, state and local taxes.”

“If a corporation grossed as much as hunters and anglers spend, it would be among America’s 20 largest, ahead of Target, Costco and AT & T.” However, the money they spend causes a “ripple effect” of $192 billion per year across the economy.

One other statistic of the report I’d like to share is: “Spending by hunters and anglers is more than the revenues of Microsoft, Google, eBay and Yahoo — combined  ($76 billion vs. $73.6 billion). Thus, you can see that a 10 % drop in revenues is a serious issue.

Lest you think the forests and woodlands are sitting idle, think again. There has been a huge increase in the numbers of folks who spend time watching wildlife. So there is more pressure on these forests and woodlands without an increase in income.  Birdwatchers, generally, don’t pay fees, such as the stamps, licenses, tags and permits – mentioned above.

Final Words in Part I

In other words, the delicate balance between habitat, animal management and humans is being torn asunder.  The latest stats I’ve read says that less than 3% of today’s hunters and anglers are under 17. That is why I wrote the article, “Why Should You Get Your Kids Interested in Hunting?”

There’s lots more to this issue. However, this blog is already getting long.  Recently I promised myself to try keeping articles down to about 500 words.

Stay tuned for Part II

~~~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

 

Report on Lead-In-Venison & Lead Poisoning

Field and Stream‘s blog has an interesting study on the lead left in venison and the possibility of lead poisoning.  Refer here: http://fieldandstream.blogs.com/whitetail365/

Field and Stream got their info from the following article (“Cleaning deer of lead will take more care, DNR* says”) in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/30579269.html?page=1&c=y

 

pinchme

Pinch Me! What a Deer!

 

Specifically, lead fragments, too small to feel or taste, break up inside the carcass. An excerpt from the Star Tribune article by Doug Smith:

“Some high-velocity lead bullets break apart almost instantly, throwing small pieces of metal all over the place,” Cornicelli said.

Routine trimming likely will not remove all fragments, and the agency can’t make a recommendation about how far out from the wound to trim. The fragments generally are too small to see, feel or detect while chewing.

The study also found rinsing a carcass tended to reduce lead near the wound channel by about 20 percent, but also spread lead.

The information continues on – http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/30579269.html?page=2&c=y

If you read some of the 44 comments (at the time I wrote this), the comments are all over the place. My fave is the “socialist plot…” However, the person who reminded us of the rush to get rid of lead shot in ducks (and the ensuing HUGE increase in prices), really caught my eye.

Comments anyone?

* DNR = Department of Natural Resources (in Minnesota)

~~~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Why Should You Get Your Kids Interested in Hunting?

 

northern pintails

Our American Heritage

 

Hunting is part of our American heritage. However, if parents don’t take the time to introduce and encourage their children to hunt, the opportunity could disappear in your children’s lifetime.

Don’t believe me? Many hunting blogs and associations are singing this same song:  Hunting is declining across America.

Fewer Hunters in America

A headline in an Illinois newspaper shouts, “Declining Numbers in Illinois Could Put Hunters on ‘Endangered Species List‘.”  I’ll spend time in a future blog explaining why this will be a serious financial, political and lifestyle change that will have huge implications. However, today I’d like to concentrate on ‘getting kids interested in hunting.’

Why Hunting and Fishing Matter

Going hunting is great exercise. It just might be your child’s first experience in smog-free air!

Since they will soon be the stewards of our country, it is important for them to understand why we need to preserve animals’ habitat. They only learn that we don’t need another strip mall by experiencing the beauty of their natural  surroundings.

Kids don’t learn these niceties from books or videos. They learn the importance of nature from people who already have a reverence for vast spaces of natural beauty.  Generally, they get this knowledge from their parents, grandparents and/or extended family.

As a therapist, I know that hunting gives parent and child an opportunity to spend large blocks of time together. They learn anew of each other’s uniqueness. It often is a bridge to sharing – with few distractions (cell phones, etc., usually don’t work in sparsely populated areas).

Kids Crave Their Parents’ Attention

One of the things youngsters complain most about their parents is: they feel their parents are too busy for them. With a slower pace and more time, parents and children can both feel they are heard.  As a parent, you know that it is a great feeling to share your knowledge of tracking wild animals, teaching survival skills and showing that you are smarter than most of the parents on television!

Hunting Teaches Responsibility

Taking children hunting is a fantastic way to teach responsibility. Kids learn they have to earn the privilege of taking up arms – by taking hunting safety courses, learning to shoot and proving their understanding of the seriousness of carrying lethal arms.

Too often, kids get a “pass” from doing something hard or uninteresting or complicated because they are “cute,” “in sports” or their parents are Mr. and Mrs. So-And-So. This is not good training for life.

Because hunting requires youngsters to prove competency before getting privileges, it trains them to know they have to give something before they get something. Generally, I find kids who are hunters to be more mature than other youngsters their ages!

In our family, we have a rule: We eat what we kill. This taught our youngsters not to take aim at wild things they don’t want to eat. Our son went through a phase in which he wanted to shoot birds.

I told him that it was OK as long as he ate everything he killed.  Having to eat his first bird, an old robin, cured him of wanting to shoot any more birds!

Our Children as a New Generation of Teddy Roosevelts

Taking kids hunting is a great way to teach conservation – the need to preserve what we have for future generations. Since Teddy Roosevelt is gone, who else will protect our hunting and fishing lands? We must train our children – girls and boys – to be the conservators of the future.

Feedback: We have younger adult readers who may not know how and when to get their kids interested in hunting.  Will you please share your expertise?

I’d like to hear when you started taking your children hunting.

How did you get your kids interested in hunting?

What did your kids hunt first?

~~~

A very, very Happy Birthday to our Son, Chris!

~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

 

Anyone Out There? Questions for My Readers!

 

Calling all Readers!

Calling All Readers!

 

Just want you to know that it gets mighty lonely in my Ivory Tower, issuing,  ‘Calling all Readers!’  pearls of fascinating lore.

If there is anyone in cyberspace who has read my article:  Hunting News: Why You Just Might Not Get a Turkey or Deer this Year or A Few More Facts About Deer Hunting — I’d love to hear how you are handling this issue.

Hey, I’m even willing to listen to anyone who hasn’t read either article!

Briefly, hunting clothes purchased from China AND/OR washed in detergents have UV brighteners. This is a real bummer if you are hunting either of the two species with extremely sharp eyes — the turkey and deer. Essentially, folks with brighteners in their hunting clothes “glow” — making it very easy for the turkey and deer to elude those hunters.  Either of the mentioned articles has a photo of the “bright, blue, glowing hunter.”

What I’d like to know is

Are you concerned about the issue?

Have you tried the product mentioned (UV Killer)?

Did it work? As well as advertised?

Have you discovered an alternative method of removing (and keeping out) “the glow?” What is it and how does it work?  Inquiring minds want to know!

I appreciate your input; thanks for taking time to respond. (No Mom, you don’t need to answer these questions. I want to see if I have any readers besides you!)

~~~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

A Few More Facts About Deer Hunting

Because my last article was getting too long; I omitted some facts of interest. If you recall, the title was: “Hunting News: Why You Just Might Not Get a Deer or Turkey this Year.” (For the full article, look back to 1 October 2008, on this site.)

 

GhillieFlageSuitDesert

GhillieFlageSuit-Desert; 1 Piece

 

In earlier times, American fabric producers and hunting garment  manufacturers had an agreement NOT to add brighteners to clothing used for hunting. When China took over textile and clothing manufacturing, someone forgot to tell them about the problem with UV brighteners (for hunters).

Scientists Find that Deer See Two Colors

At about the same time hunters were realizing their clothes had a ‘glow,’ a study came out about deer and their eyesight.

The study I’m referring to is the cooperative effort between the University of Georgia and the University of Wisconsin.  This group of scientists proved that deer see only two colors — yellow and blue.

Deer are essentially color blind – in the same way some humans can be – by not seeing green or red.  They also lack a filter for UV light, therefore they see those UV brighteners added in clothing very easily.  Humans, in contrast, do not see the UV light, because their sight is filtered.

UV brighteners give clothes a bright blue cast. Generally, this is not a problem; street clothes look more attractive with brighteners. However, the UV coloring additions to hunting clothing are NOT good for hunters.

How Do I Get the UV Brighteners Out of Camouflage?

Well, I was hoping you wouldn’t ask that! 😉 You can’t take it out by the average means available! All grocery detergents (liquid and powder) contain brighteners. Once clothes have been washed in these detergents, the dye (brightener) is permanently added to the garment(s).

Options

There’s only one way I’ve heard that you can remove the brighteners (other than throwing the clothes away) — by using a product called, U-V Killer, by Atsko (www.atsko.com). After using that product, you need their other product, Sport Wash, to wash hunting garments for the life of said garments.

The only other option is to buy and use wool camo garments. This is not a viable option here in Texas; where folks often hunt in shirt-sleeves and shorts!

Where Do I Start?

You need to know if you have the UV brighteners in your hunting clothes. First, get a black-light and shine it on your hunting duds, in a dim location. The brighter the glow, the more dye is in the clothing.

Less Expensive Alternative

R. Henshaw, in a forum discussing the UV Dye problem, suggested 20 Mule Team Borax. Because this is not a detergent in the normal sense of the word, this product may protect goods from getting the “glow.”

I’m planning to experiment with it. I hope to keep the glow out of new clothing and reduce the glow – over time – in hunting garments that have it.

Finally

The reason I haven’t gotten my knickers bunched about this issue is — MDH has been hunting for years. If, by washing his camo goods in detergents all these years he’s had glowing garments, why has he been able to get a deer each year?

After reading this, MDH suggested that the deer did not see him in the deer blind or he did not hunt in the twilight or early morning (the two times the scientists say the deer’s eyesight is most acute).

So you see, it really is a personal decision. Richard isn’t rushing out to buy new hunting duds, but adopting a wait-and-see attitude. As stated in the last article, there really is much more to hunting deer (like movement and smell) than just worrying about ‘glowing.’

What do you think?

~~~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Hunting News: Why You Just Might Not Get a Turkey or Deer this Year

That headline is rather unsettling, at best. Is it the truth or just someone’s (brilliant) scheme to sell a product?  If the headline is true — is there any other solution (than the promoted product)?  As with most things, the truth is somewhere in between.

The Problem

 

Turkeys Watch for Movement Much More than Colors!

 

In a nutshell, the problem is related to the UV brighteners in most clothing.  China produces just about all of the fabric used for clothing, including camo suits. Even before the cloth is printed, UV brighteners are added.

 

Deer Skitter Away When They Hear A Sound They Cannot Identify!

The largest group who would NOT want these brighteners added are — hunters. Why? The short answer is: Turkeys and deer see differently than we do and they do see the UV brighteners. It makes the hunter look like a bright blue blob.

The solution is obvious: Only buy hunting clothing without UV brighteners! Therein lies the problem; even companies that promise they have added no brighteners — parts of the garment (pockets, lapels, etc.), may have been brightened before sale to the clothing manufacturer. So, what can you do?

Buying New Camo Clothing

First, you will need a black light. Lots of sports stores carry black-light flashlights.  Check the camo clothing you already own. If you need new garments, the black-light flashlight will be an important tool. Shine the light over all portions of garments you are considering.  If it glows, it has UV brighteners.  Remember: Almost all camouflage, blaze orange, street clothes and detergents have UV brighteners.  If you have washed, even once, your hunting clothes in regular detergent, UV brighteners have been permanently added to the garments.

Considerations

Before your britches get bunched,  😉  let’s pause and consider some aspects of this problem. Folks in the forums have taken positions on both sides of the aisle.  Some posture the idea that our ancestors did just fine hunting with what they had at hand. Of course, they seem to be forgetting that our fore-mothers didn’t have brighteners (UV or any other kind) in their clothes washing kettles.

Others espouse the idea that they’ve ‘done fine in the past, so what’s the big deal?’ Some hunters are of the mind that they should use every tool at their disposal.  Where are you on this issue?

The Long View

I will admit that the photos of hunters in “hot UV” clothing is pretty damning! They certainly do look like big blue blobs.  However, I’m not planning to burn all of my husband’s hunting clothes, even though they have all been washed in detergents.

I’ve decided to take the long view: Reading the reports by the scientists conducting the tests, I can see there is a problem. However, the scientists admit that deer and turkeys see this “blue glow” at two distinct times: early morning and late evening. This is during low light conditions. True, deer seem to be more active during these times. During regular daylight hours, the animals’ eyesight seems to be less acute.

Implications and the Real Considerations

If you are concerned about this issue, there’s a product available that will remove the UV brighteners. It is manufactured by ATSKO (www.atsko.com), the U-V Killer. Once this product eliminates the “glow,” you will need to always use their washing liquid to keep the fabric safe.

Another company is touting their wool hunting garments as an alternative to the ‘glowing goods’ that seem to be rampant in the stores today.

However, I think there is something close to  ‘undue concern’ about the glowing hunting goods, to the exclusion of issues that just might matter more.  Deer are much more sensitive to scent — and they can detect scent from much greater distances. There are some products that promise to remove scent from the hunter.  I wonder if they work because deer are alerted when there is no scent, as well as when there is too much human smell. I think movement is another important consideration, that has been sidelined during this discussion.

The same studies (referred to above), make certain recommendations about camo clothing.  Having patterned clothing that blends in with the landscape is more important than its color. The scientists warn hunters about wearing large patches of unbroken color. Two specific materials are discouraged: vinyl and plastic. Why? Because they reflect light. It is not the color of these two materials that’s important, but the fact that light reflects so readily from them.

Finally

Only you can decide how important this issue is to you. Perhaps the UV brightener-killer is right for your needs. However, I read something from R. Henshaw (on a forum) recently. He suggested purchasing a large box of 20 Mule Team Borax. “Wash your hunting clothes in that, do not use fabric softeners, do not use dryer sheets.  Problem Solved!!!!!”

I’ve decided that ‘it’s a plan.’ Before I try the high-priced solutions, I’m going to keep it simple.  Another idea I’m considering: Repair MDH’s (my deer 😉 husband’s) old hunting clothes, languishing in the back of a closet! Until recently, when textile manufacturing moved to China, this was a non-issue, no problem. I’m also planning to check out thrift stores in our area for camo not bearing the tag, “Made in China.”

**For more info about the amount of borax to use, go to article, “Words of Wisdom & A Bit of Humor” and look at the bottom paragraphs.

~~~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com/blog